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Distance to Frontier and Appropriate Business Strategy

  • Alex Coad

This paper is an empirical test of the hypothesis that the appropriateness of different business strategies is conditional on the firms distance to the industry frontier. We use data on four 2-digit high-tech manufacturing industries in the US over the period 1972-1999, and apply semi-parametric quantile regressions to investigate the contribution of firm behavior to market value at various points of the conditional distribution of Tobin's q. Among our results, we observe that innovative activity, measured in terms of R&D expenditure or patents, has a strong positive association with market value at the upper quantiles (corresponding to the leader firms) whereas the innovative efforts of laggard firms are valued significantly less. Laggard firms, we suggest, should instead achieve productivity growth through efficient exploitation of existing technologies and imitation of industry leaders. Employment growth in leader firms is encouraged whereas growth of backward firms is not as well received on the stock market.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2008/13.

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Date of creation: 03 Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2008/13
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  1. Coad, Alex & Rao, Rekha, 2008. "Innovation and firm growth in high-tech sectors: A quantile regression approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 633-648, May.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
  3. David T. Coe & Elhanan Helpman & Alexander Hoffmaister, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
  5. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Mapping the two faces of R&D: productivity growth in a panel of OECD industries," IFS Working Papers W00/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2006:i:13:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas & Vandenbussche, Jérôme, 2005. "Growth, Distance to Frontier and Composition of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bruno Amable & Lilas Demmou & Ivan Ledezma, 2008. "Competition, innovation and distance to frontier," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne r08064, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio & Aghion, Philippe, 2003. "Vertical Integration and Distance to Frontier," Scholarly Articles 4481512, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Patterson, Malcolm, 2001. " Does Doing Badly Encourage Management Innovation?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 5-28, February.
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  13. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
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  15. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 2006. "Appropriate Growth Policy: A Unifying Framework," Scholarly Articles 4554121, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Alex Coad, 2007. "Firm Growth : a Survey," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00155762, HAL.
  17. Olivier J. Blanchard & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1993. "What do Firms do with Cash Windfalls?," NBER Working Papers 4258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," CEPR Discussion Papers 3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2003. "Regulation, productivity, and growth : OECD evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2944, The World Bank.
  20. Louis K. C. Chan, 2001. "The Stock Market Valuation of Research and Development Expenditures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2431-2456, December.
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  22. Geroski, Paul A & Machin, Stephen & Walters, Christopher F, 1997. "Corporate Growth and Profitability," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 171-89, June.
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  25. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
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  27. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  29. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Philippe Aghion & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt & Susanne Prantl, 2004. "Entry and Productivity Growth: Evidence from Microlevel Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 265-276, 04/05.
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  33. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
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